Fit for Hawks rumored All-Star trade target in question: 'Worst landing spot'

One analyst questions the fit the Atlanta Hawks provide for one of their rumored top offseason trade targets.
Atlanta Hawks guards Bogdan Bogdanovic and Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guards Bogdan Bogdanovic and Trae Young / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have been linked to several potential trades and targets already this offseason.

They may want to re-think one of their potential deals, though, as the on-court product could remain the same or even get worse.

The Hawks are one of several teams linked to New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram. He is expected to be shopped this offseason as the Pelicans look to avoid his looming payday as he enters the final year of a five-year, $158.2 million contract.

Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey doubts Ingram will help the Hawks or vice versa.

“The Atlanta Hawks figure to be active in the trade market this summer as they look to move either Trae Young or Dejounte Murray. Ingram could be caught up in those frameworks,” Bailey wrote on June 4. “Regardless of whether Ingram was alongside Young or Murray in Atlanta, he would not only have to be a No. 2 on offense, but he wouldn't be as protected on the other end.”

Bailey considers the Hawks the “worst landing spot” for Ingram for that reason, noting that lineups featuring him and Young “could get torched” defensively.

The Hawks’ perimeter defensive issues are well-documented.

They posted the 27th-ranked defensive rating, posting their worst mark since began tracking the data in 1996-97. The Pelicans’ defense was 2.5 points per 100 possessions better without Ingram on the floor than with him in 2023-24, per Cleaning The Glass. 

He would give a different look to the offense, though, through the fluidity with which he plays. Ingram can get his own shot and create at a lanky 6-foot-8.

Hawks could be sneaky good fit for Pelicans Brandon Ingram

The Hawks don’t have as many proven defenders as New Orleans does, which includes 2023-24 All-Defensive First-Teamer Herb Jones, who the Hawks had eyes for.

New Orleans needs a point guard and has kicked the tires on center Clint Capela.

They could form the basis of an enticing trade package that would land Ingram in Atlanta where the defensive concerns may be overstated. For one, Ingram would not be joining a defensive juggernaut and making it worse.

His ability to play the 2 could also make the Hawks’ backcourt bigger if they felt comfortable rolling with De’Andre Hunter and Jalen Johnson at the forward spots.

That could help mitigate some of those defensive concerns.

Add in some hopeful sustained health from Johnson and Hunter might have the Hawks’ defensive profile looking a lot different by this time next season, especially if they can also add a premier shot blocker in the draft.

Two of their top-three rumored targets in the draft – Perth big man Alexandre Sarr and UConn’s Donovan Clingan – both fit the bill.

Sarr was the projected No. 1 pick coming out of the lottery. 

The 7-foot-1 Frenchman has spoken highly of potentially playing for the Hawks and has experience in Atlanta after playing for Overtime Elite for two seasons. He projects more as a 4 in the league, at least to start a la Evan Mobley or Jaren Jackson Jr.

Clingan measures in at 7-foot-3 and 282 pounds. He is a massive individual and has proven himself as a defensive anchor at the collegiate level for a back-to-back champion.

He also has a rumored fan in Hawks head coach Quin Snyder.

The Hawks project as a better fit for Ingram – whose mid-range game would replace Murray’s in Bailey’s “torched” scenario – than they seem at first blush. Especially if they continue to show the type of aggression that would lead to such a move in the first place.